Hyphen staffers from 2005 (photo: Lanlian Szeto)
Tucked beneath a busy freeway on foggy June night, a
large crowd gathered together in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood to celebrate Hyphen magazine’s ten year anniversary.
Within SOMArts' walls splashed with colored lights and shadows, Hyphen’s
writers, artists, readers, supporters, and friends came together as witnesses
of Hyphen’s growth over the years. Articles, covers, and short
stories from Hyphen’s past 25 issues were displayed on the walls, tracing an extensive yet still-young history
of Asian American storytelling.
Everybody at the party knew somebody who had brought them closer to this growing Asian American network, and readers remarked on the magazine's evolution over the past decade. “Hyphen has
become a lot more, what is the word? Snazzy, that’s it,” said former Hyphen publishing assistant Shari de Costa. “You can even see that through the Mr.
Hyphen photos,” she added, pointing to a string of photos of grinning Mr. Asian
Nearby artists Eve Skylar and Rick
Kitagawa created whimsical and surreal paintings speaking to Hyphen’s history. “It’s
otherworldly,” said Skylar of her piece. “In many ways, it’s
similar to the space we as Asian Americans create between Asia and America. We
are removed from our roots and yet at the same time tied to them.”
The night’s music and dance performances were evidence of the unabridged vision this generation of Asian
Americans is creating, bringing together a diverse fusion of genres. A1 Dance Crew
shook the stage with a dance battle that ended with an astonishing head spin. Hip-hop musician
Senbei belted his provocative beats “dedicated to our ancestors because we
didn’t forget,” reminding us of our foundations in this country. Mandeep
Sethi’s rap performance resonated with the dhol beat and a backdrop of young musicians with a
whole lot of swag from India. “They killed it!” cried an audience member amidst the
The show spilled onto the dance floor, with DJs spinning late into the night and Hyphen friends new and old mingling over drinks. “The crowd is so energetic and positive tonight," said the night's emcee Nicki Sun. "I am proud to be here.”